National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Washington

Are Christian hashtags rallying the faithful or just luring trolls?

Standing on the sidewalk outside an imposing downtown church, Michael Corral carried a portable loudspeaker and a handmade wooden cross with an old-fashioned message: "REPENT & BELIEVE."

"They're twisting Scripture to see through their sins," he said, as a group of pro-LGBT evangelicals met inside.

Meanwhile, halfway across the country, conservative activist Eric Teetsel was monitoring the same conference from his home in Kansas, firing off 140-character tweets using the conference hashtag, #TRPinDC.

Gay marriage hits major bump in federal appeals court

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The same-sex marriage movement lost its first major case in a federal appeals court Thursday after a lengthy string of victories, creating a split among the nation's circuit courts that virtually guarantees review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 2-1 ruling from the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed lower court rulings that had struck down gay marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Müller to USCCB: Catholics must be heard in public square

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In a U.S. visit, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told officials at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops not to lose sight "that the voice of the Catholic church must be heard in the public square."

"Otherwise we risk that our democracies are reduced to a vocabulary of truth, which is exclusively pragmatic and positivist," he said Tuesday at the USCCB headquarters in Washington.

Court blocks law that had closed most Texas abortion clinics

The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a Texas law that had meant all but seven of the state's abortion clinics were closed because they failed to meet new standards.

The block will remain in effect while the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers a legal challenge to the law itself. It will allow at least 12 clinics that were closed to reopen.

USCCB: New rules to opt out of HHS mandate still unsatisfactory

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The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday urged the federal government "to reconsider" its new rules to allow religious institutions -- and potentially some for-profit companies -- to opt out of the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

On Aug. 22, the Obama administration issued rules it described as a "work around" to offer religious employers who are not exempt from the mandate a new way to opt out of coverage they find morally objectionable.

The rules also provide some for-profit companies a way to opt out.

US bishops emphasize traditional marriage after Supreme Court action

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After the Supreme Court on Monday declined to review rulings overturning five states' bans on same-sex marriage, several U.S. bishops criticized the court's inaction and reiterated that according to church teaching, traditional marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley said the court's failure to review the Circuit Court decisions was "deeply disappointing."

Supreme Court allows gay marriage to expand to 30 states

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The Supreme Court refused to get involved in the national debate over same-sex marriage on Monday, leaving intact lower court rulings that will legalize the practice in 11 additional states.

The unexpected decision by the justices, announced without further explanation, immediately affects five states in which federal appeals courts had struck down bans against gay marriage: Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Utah.

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